20+ Things 1/18

^ Mitch accidentally put Emma’s boots on Lucy and it’s cracking me up.

J.Crew Chateau Puffer / Little Flower Mask / Barefoot Dreams HatKJP Moose Sweater Dress / LLBean Shearling-Lined Boots (The taller version is awesome, too!) / Sweater Tights / Frizzy Hair / Girls’ Heart Dresses (LOVE this set, too!) / Girls’ Faux Fur Vests / Girls’ Chateau Puffers / Girls’ Waterproof Uggs

HELLO. Here are the first zillion things that come to mind today because I’m feeling chatty:

  • I got new contacts! I highly recommend Warby Parker. I’ve been going to Lens Crafters for the longest time for contacts, and very honestly, the experience was always miserable. I actually found myself trying to stretch out my contacts’ wear so I wouldn’t have to go back every year! I recently discovered that WP carries nearly all the contacts brands (I can only wear Acuvue Oasys), though, and I promptly made an appointment at the store on Armitage in Lincoln Park. WOW. It was so lovely. I couldn’t get over how safe, professional and friendly everyone was—especially Dr. Jodh Sidhu, who is the best optometrist I’ve ever seen. (Ask for him!) Of course, it would appear that I am totally blind. (Somewhere between a -7 and -8, haha.) But feels so good to be able to see again!
  • We received Mitch’s My Block My City My Hood tie! It’s beautiful. You can read about M3 here, but Martin Luther King Jr. Day would be an awesome day to either donate or buy a tie. (It makes for a great Valentine’s Day present!)
  • Mitch and I finally organized the garage. We’ve lived here for a year and a half. 😆 I’m a little ashamed, I can’t lie. But it was just too overwhelming for so long. Mitch receives his company’s products here, and he stores them in the garage until they’re ready to be shipped off to Amazon. They’re usually not in there for too long, but new pallets arrive weekly. Every time we’d walk in there to organize, we’d look at each other and be like, “Next week?” Haha. But we finally did it. And while it isn’t pretty, everything has a place and the products are grouped together in a tidy fashion. We can even pull the car in now! Joy.
  • I’m planning a little at-home celebration for Inauguration Day. Our country obviously has a ton of work to do, but I’m full of hope this week. I think Mitch and I are just going to do appetizers and put on real pants on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll even blow-dry my hair. Though probably not. Are you doing anything?! (Btw: My lovely cousin Olivia sent me this Inauguration Playlist and it’s great! Thanks, Liv!)
  • Looking for good kids’ books that’ll help them understand what’s going on? Try Grace Goes to Washington. (It’s part II of Grace for President.) Emma has really loved these books, and I can’t get over how much she’s been able to internalize. We can have real conversations regarding politics now! (Let me know if you’ve found any good ones.) To buy, consider Semicolon, which is a great Black-owned bookstore here in Chicago that ships all over!
  • Patrick, Kim and Gigi (Mitch’s grandmother) have been vaccinated. I can’t tell you how happy my family is. Patrick and Kim are actually fully vaccinated, as they received their first doses back in December. (I think I mentioned this a few weeks ago.) My fingers are crossed that the rest of our grandparents and our parents can get it soon!
  • I started re-editing family photos. Such a January project, right? My style has changed so much since 2016 when we had Emma, so I’m going through old photos and re-editing them. It’s been so enjoyable! It’s also helping me to get digitally organized. My photos are my most prized possessions, yet I have a whole lot of outfits that hold no meaning (😜) thrown in there. I may start sharing them on the blog soon; might be fun to take a walk down memory lane together!
  • Have you heard of Betsy’s Blankets? Guys. What an amazing organization. Please consider donating! (Would be a great thing to do today. You can even send them blankets directly from Amazon. During checkout, just select them for shipping. It’ll automatically show up!) The blankets go to children receiving a bed for their first time, children who have experienced trauma, children in the foster care system, people experiencing homelessness, shelter animals, and cancer patients. Such a worthwhile cause.
  • “Find the Place You Love. Then Move There” was a good read. “…of course, it’s not as simple as identifying your ideal home and uprooting your whole life to go there,” the author says. “Moving is costly and scary.” (There are obviously other limitations, too.) But I really enjoy Arthur Brooks’ happiness column, and he regularly challenges me to consider how I live my life and why. Wish I’d had him in my 20s. He’s worth following along with, for sure! Would you ever consider uprooting your life and moving elsewhere?
  • Have you seen all the adorable LOFT Valentine’s Day finds? This fleece top specifically is SO CUTE!
  • The broken dishwasher saga is over! HALLELUJAH. Per your recommendations, we bought a Kitchen Aid. But then Best Buy emailed us to tell us that they couldn’t find it or they sold out minutes after we placed our order. (We were annoyed but it was also pretty funny.) So Mitch ran to ABT and the only one that worked was a Bosch. (Kira David Design‘s crew ended up installing it for us because ABT had a weeks-long waiting list.) Some of you said you had good experiences with the brand, so fingers crossed! Going well so far. Nice to have clean dishes.
  • This striped fisherman sweater is adorable and I keep coming back to it! I love it because it reminds me of spring and summer yet it’s clearly a winter sweater.

Noodle in the bathtub

Noodle in the bathtub after a rather muddy snow romp.

  • I got this to organize our Christmas ornaments. I normally hate this kind of stuff. But wow. What an improvement from the cardboard box we were previously using! I predict that we’ll have zero broken ornaments next year.
  • These hand warmers WORK. I tried heated mittens and didn’t love them. Just didn’t get toasty enough. The hand warmers, though? Almost TOO hot! I had to turn them down to their lowest setting. I’ll do a full review soon, but I really like them. My one criticism is that it’s hard to hold anything when you have ’em in your mittens. (Like a dog leash or a stroller hand bar.) Not impossible; just takes some getting used to. And totally worth it.
  • Speaking of cold fingers, many thanks to reader Kate for the Cubbies kids’ shirts recommendation! The mittens are ZIPPERED ON. I’m so excited. Kate, you are wonderful and I love you.
  • My fingers are crossed that this stroller speaker helps Lucy. We’re not in freakout mode, but Lucy isn’t talking yet. She has a few words and she makes noises that sound like she’s talking, but yeah. She’s just a stubborn kiddo and has always done things on her own time! She really responds to music, though, and she actually will sing the line “let it go” from the “Frozen” song. I’ve read that playing music on long walks can help so much, so we’ll see!
  • Have you tried FaceTime playdates? I think I include this in my “10 Things” post every week these days, but if you’re a struggling parent of a remote learning child, TRY IT! It’s been a lifesaver. The kids totally play, too. They just love the conversation!
  • Emma is going to be be taking a masked ballet/tap class with her best friend. I mentioned this recently but we’re both a little nervous and VERY happy about it. She’s had nearly everything taken away from her this year and a little socially distance physical/social activity is just what she needs while we wait for Chicago Public Schools to open up! (No parents allowed inside; all children masked.)
  • Barefoot Dreams hats are on Amazon. Only hats that don’t make my head itch. A+ from me.
  • I cleaned out the playroom and it’s magic. I know I told you about this before, but I used these $1.18 storage containers and these larger $4.48 ones to organize toy sets, and then donated anything that wasn’t being used or that was missing pieces. I can’t tell you how much more the girls enjoy going down there now! It’s less overwhelming to them. It’s also a form of toy rotation. And when we’re done, cleanup is quick and easy. Emma doesn’t even complain! (And the cutest thing? She has thanked me a zillion times for “making the playroom so nice.” I always find her down there!)
  • My next project is my office. It’s not that bad; I just need to tidy and mail some work stuff out. But it’s less intimidating now that my “one home project a day” thing is in full swing. The project doesn’t need to be big, btw. Yesterday I simply cleaned out our junk drawer. Little steps to an uncluttered lifestyle is all. The idea is that one day you wake up and you’re like, “WHOA! I think I’m organized!”
  • “52 Places to Love in 2021” makes me excited about the future. Not sure whether we’ll actually go anywhere extravagant this year, but I’m loving all the places, and extravagant travel doesn’t necessarily mean good travel. Some of our best times have been trips to Indiana and Wisconsin, for example!

snow and Noodle flying

Said snow romp. Fly Noodle, fly!

  • Building off that last one, we’re thinking about renting a house for a week or two next month for the sake of mental health. It’s cold here, and while I make sure to get the girls outside every day, the weather is limiting and sunshine is rare. Because Emma is still in a remote learning program, though, we have some flexibility. Might just book an Air Bnb that’s within driving distance in a sunnier location. (Did I ever tell you we bought a portable potty for the car? HA! So gross, but it means we don’t have to stop at rest stops for anything bus gas.) We’ll see, though.
  • I haven’t worn real pants in weeks. Real talk. Have you? I’m so unmotivated, and feel like I’ve almost reverted to the life I was living at the beginning of the pandemic. I think I need to pull myself out of this sooner rather than later, though. It’s not the pants. It’s what the pants represent. You feel me?!
  • I feel like I can’t get the house clean enough. I was like this when I was pregnant. (I’m not pregnant.) I’ll clean the whole house top to bottom—bleach and all—and then I’m either unhappy with the result or I turn around and it’s dirty again. I know this is just because I’m stuck inside all the time, and I’m being a little obsessive. But Mitch looked at me like a crazy lady last night when I was vacuuming for the second time that day. Does anyone else feel this way?!
  • Have you tried the Our Place Always Pan? This is one great way to cut back on cleaning in the kitchen. It’s non-stick, and the cleanup takes all of 15 seconds. The company sent us the pan a few weeks ago and I’m truly impressed!
  • I’m insanely excited about working with Caitlin Wilson Kids (Cait Kids). Everything is perfect. There’s a lot of Caitlin Wilson in Lucy’s room to begin with, so it’s going to be fun a fun project! (I’m also realizing now that I never did a post on Lucy’s room. So this’ll get me going!)

Not even close to 10 so I had to change the title of this post to “20+ Things.” 😆. Bye!